This is an old post of mine but I think it is always a good idea to remind ourselves of our imperial masters’ history and to remind ourselves that it is still going on in the usual brutal fashion but with more powerful weapons and greater resources.
Three recent books – Britain’s Gulag by Caroline Elkins, Histories of the Hanged by David Anderson, and Web of Deceit by Mark Curtis – show how white settlers and British troops suppressed the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya in the 1950s. Thrown off their best land and deprived of political rights, the Kikuyu started to organise – some of them violently – against colonial rule. The British responded by driving up to 320,000 of them into concentration camps. Most of the remainder – more than a million -were held in “enclosed villages”. Prisoners were questioned with the help of “slicing off ears, boring holes in eardrums, flogging until death, pouring paraffin over suspects who were then set alight, and burning eardrums with lit cigarettes”. British soldiers used a “metal castrating instrument” to cut off testicles and fingers. “By the time I cut his balls off,” one settler boasted, “he had no ears, and his eyeball, the right one, I think, was hanging out of its socket.” The soldiers were told they could shoot anyone they liked “provided they were black”. Elkins’s evidence suggests that more than 100,000 Kikuyu were either killed or died of disease and starvation in the camps. David Anderson documents the hanging of 1,090 suspected rebels: far more than the French executed in Algeria. Thousands more were summarily executed by soldiers, who claimed they had “failed to halt” when challenged.
Extract from The Guardian, Tuesday December 27 2005.
The history of British Imperialism is littered with such horrors, as is all the empires of the past. Today we have the new imperialism, American Imperialism and its more recent history in South America, Afghanistan and the Middle East show that it is following in true brutal and ruthless imperialist fashion.